A beautiful place to go to get a breath of fresh air in Tokyo. It is very peaceful, you will forget that you live in a hectic city. Make sure to visit during 'coming-of-age-day' in Japan when all of the 20 year olds get dolled up in their traditional finery.
You could go here will the rest of Tokyo on the night of the 31st of December or the morning of the first of January, and fight the huge crowds.... OR you could go on most other days of the year to have a peaceful experience. The place is surprisingly large, and the walkway into the shrine itself from the street is further than you'd think considering the crowded nature of that area of Tokyo. I'd actually lived in Tokyo for nearly 2 years before I first visited Meiji Jingu, but there is a Japanese expression which goes something like "It's so close, and you could go any time, so you never do." Don't wait 2 years to see this place, if you are stressed about the crowds of the city, go and have some peaceful moments in the shrine.
There are three gates leading into the main shrine (the building with the graves of the emperor and empress, I think). each gate has a place where you can wash your hands and mouth, visual instructions above. In front, off to the side, is a place to write your wishes on paper and wooden blocks. A priest/priestess is usually around, collecting the papers and disappearing off with them somewhere.
Inside the main building there are three boxes (the ones with open vertical bars) where you can toss coins into, and a wooden railing, from which you can attempt to peer further into the courtyard into the next building (no public entrance). off on each side are two large drums.
at one of the exits, there is a souvenir shop aisle, with charms (for sure), postcards, fans (not so sure), that kinda thing. in front of the shop is a place to buy some tea and maybe a small snack. Further to the right of the seating area is a courtyard. when i went, there was traditional filming going on, so you can imagine how traditional, historic, and revered the Meiji Jingu shrine is.
It's a little of a must to visit, I think, and conveniently located near Harajuku.
What a view. I went there at 9 AM in a raining day, so there wasn't much people there.
First time that I passed the Tori (red gate) I thought that I was returning time.
So quiet, it's like you traveled to a far away place. And after some walking in that little stone streets, that wonderful Temple. In the entrance of the first gate i saw a lot of autumn flowers and souvenir shop.
After the gorgeous main gate you see a giant stone area that looks like a Training Hall from Kung-Fu movies.
So I went into the main temple, inside you can't see much, it's well maintained and clean, but no photos inside.
Meiji-Jingu is my favorite shrine in Tokyo! It's nice on a Sunday even though it's crowded, because you are also close to Yoyogi park and (obviously) jingu-mae where the "harajuku girls" and boys congregate to show off their fancy (for lack of better word) new outfits! It's also nice because usually you can see a traditional Japanese wedding and sneakily take pictures of it ~ just tell your friends back home you were on the guest list!
Any trip in Tokyo certainly can't do without a visit to Meiji Jingu. The beautiful walk through the park to the elegant shrine and grand torii's peacefully existing in the middle of this escape for the busyness of Tokyo is truly something special.
Another great thing about Meiji Jingu is that on the weekends you are almost certain to be able to see a traditional Japanese wedding at all hours of the day. Be sure to include this site for a Saturday or Sunday to really make the trip.
The Meiji Gardens are a refreshing break from the shopping and posing of Harajuku. They are quiet and shady and surround the Meiji Jingu shrine. Trees lining most of the paths make it seem less crowded than it is. Check out the wine barrels surrounding the entrance of the shrine and the gate to the gardens?they’re excellent photo opportunities. As these gardens are quite large, you can really lose yourself in them for a while and remove yourself from the outside world. Take care, however, not to get lost?maps are scarce away from the main area.
Imagine the entire population of Tokyo (and tourists included), descending upon this shrine on January 1st. That's exactly what happened all-day as many made their trek to this particular shrine in the Harajuku/Yoyogi Park area.
As the masses raced around the massive grounds of this gravel-stoned maze path towards the main Meiji Jingu Shrine, foot traffic grid lock rapidly became a inevitable reality as the wait to approach was about a 45-60min wait. I don't have pictures, but take my word, it was as if you were embarking on a Michael Jackson, Van Halen, and U2 concert and the crowds converge at the venue all at once.
Clap four times, throw your coin(s), and make your wish, prayers, thoughts, reflections, complaints, etc. I hope mine were heard and on their way to being answered.
This destination is a good, time-well-spent experience for any person in Tokyo who wants a deeper appreciation of the Japanese culture.
As you may know, the Meiji era was an extremely significant period of Japanese history. After several hundred years of Shogunal rule, the emperor was restored to political power. The dawning of the Meiji era also signified Japan's reopening to trade and relations with foreign countries. As a result, Japan's industrialization was condensed into an incredibly short period of time. The era is still remembered as one of rapid progress. As such, the Meiji emperor is venerated as a symbol of Japan's modernization.
Because of this history, it's very rewarding to visit the Meiji-jingu. As you might expect, there is a distinct political significance evident in the shrine and the grounds. A broad gravel path winds through a mass of tall trees. The shrine has two large Torii gates, one of which is the largest wooden one in all of Japan. The grounds are also meticulously well maintained. On the grounds, there is a museum that houses some of the Meiji emperor's personal effects. In the same building, you can find restrooms, a small restaurant and a gift shop.
This shrine is well marked in English as well as Japanese. The maps of the grounds are marked in English, and there are several signs explaining the historical significance. Outside the main shrine, there is a building that sells amulets and other charms. At Meiji-jingu, these are marked in English as well as Japanese. The shrine itself is like most other large shrines in Japan, but it's still a really neat place to visit.